Over recent years, it has been proposed that some diseases of unknown origin, such as schizophrenia, may be caused by persistent chronic infections coupled with a genetic component and may be perpetuated by the immune system. This hypothesis is supported by epidemiological and biological evidence on the exposure of schizophrenics to infectious diseases during prenatal or postnatal periods, including Toxoplasma gondii, chlamydia, human herpes virus, human endogenous retroviruses, parvovirus B19, mumps, and flu viruses. This growing list of microbes will undoubtedly continue to increase in the future. Linking infection to schizophrenia is a complex challenge that requires further experimental and epidemiological research. T. gondii is the infectious agent that has most frequently been related to neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, and it is considered to represent a highly useful model to analyze the influence of a microorganism on human behavior and the development of psychiatric disease. It may also help to detect patient subpopulations susceptible to treatment with specific antimicrobials by improving definition of the differential phenotype of the disease, and it offers the possibility of a preventive approach.
Part of the book: Schizophrenia Treatment